First-Gen Students: Barriers, Supports and Career Confidence

  • Career Level: Basic-, intermediate-, and advanced-level career services professionals
  • Competency: Working with diverse populations
  • Fee: $49 (member); $69 (nonmember);

    This product is currently unavailable. If you have any questions, please contact NACE Education & Events at, 610.625.1026.

  • Summary

    First-gen college students often have worse retention and graduation outcomes than non-first-gen students, and frequently have different career development experiences in college as well. Much of the research literature on this population identifies differences in barriers and social supports between first-gen and non-first-gen students as predictors of outcome discrepancies. Extensive research examines the attributes, experiences, and outcomes of first-gen college students, and yet relatively little is understood about how first-gen and non-first-gen students perceive their own barriers and supports in college, or how those perceptions may impact their career decision-making process and confidence. This webinar explores how first-gen and non-first-gen college students perceive their own barriers and social supports through the lens of social-cognitive career theory, and examines how these perceptions impact career decision self-efficacy. The results of a quantitative study conducted in the fall of 2020 with more than 180 first-semester students enrolled in a public, regional comprehensive university (30% first-gen) will be shared and explored.

    This session will provide theoretical support for career development initiatives focused on strengthening social support systems for college students, especially programs targeted to parents and families of students, and empowering those social support networks with career-related information. In addition to providing an overview of the findings, this session will present an overview of the statistical data derived from this study and suggestions for future research, especially targeted to marginalized college students as this study sample was not adequately representative of all identities.

    Following this program, you will be able to:

    • Understand the concepts of social-cognitive career theory, perceived barriers, perceived social supports, and career decision self-efficacy, and the relationship between these concepts;
    • Evaluate differences between first-generation and non-first-generation college students with respect to these variables; and
    • Recognize the implications for further study and review of research targeted to marginalized groups in the college environment, i.e., BIPOC, LGBTQIA2s+, and others.


Visit the professional development FAQ page, or contact the NACE Education & Events Team via e-mail or phone, 610.625.1026.